Life after service

Army Ex-Serviceman Turns Multi-Million-Pound Entrepreneur

Read about the seasoned entrepreneur who served in the British Army then became an MD before he was 32

PJ Farr was destined to join the British Army after growing up in a military family. Joining as a teenager, he served in his local regiment, the 2nd Battalion ‘The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment’ (Tigers), alongside his friends.

Following two years based in Cyprus, PJ moved to London where he was involved in the 2012 Olympics and the wedding of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Although proud of his achievements in the Army, he decided that it was time to move on to new challenges in his mid-20s.

PJ had always had a hunch that he’d one day go into business, but, unfortunately, he struggled to settle into employment.

Redirecting Military Knowledge

One day, PJ gathered enough courage to leave employment and go it alone.

Rekindling his interest in technology and using knowledge from his time in the Army, he set up his own business in 2013, after spotting a gap in the broadband market.

At the time, construction sites lacked the connectivity found elsewhere in the commercial world. PJ decided to fix this. He said:

“Business was something I had always wanted to do. I set up the business – originally named Countrywide Telecoms – to provide communication services to the construction industry.

"For the first time, building sites could launch with full broadband and phone services in under 10 days by using our innovative products.”

Army Skills Are Fuelling The Business

PJ’s confidence was drawn from the Armed Forces. After experiencing significant challenges in the Army, he felt that he could tackle the obstacles of running a business.

With start-up support from charitable organisations and a loan from his wife, he took the leap.

PJ was reassured when he saw customers’ reactions to his work history.

He noticed that when he mentioned he was a former soldier to prospective clients, barriers came down.

Instead of seeing him as another salesman, they viewed him as someone who could solve mission-critical applications and someone who’d get the job done.

PJ credits the skills gained in the Army as the main reason for his company’s success:

An appetite for big challenges and an agile approach, as well as an ability to manage and measure risk.

Now worth millions of pounds, UK Connect provides thousands of construction sites across the UK with superfast broadband. 

PJ has introduced core military values to the company’s culture, such as giving something back to society. UK Connect is a member of the Armed Forces Covenant and donates 10% of profit to charity.

As a result of the expertise and corporate culture, the business is winning major contracts.

Heading For Even Bigger Things

Due to UK Connect’s impressive growth, PJ is now a member of the Elite programme at the London Stock Exchange Group, which offers coaching and support in working towards being listed on the Exchange.

PJ has also won awards such as the Soldiering On Awards and Business of the Year - Scale-Up Award 2019. 

Already a seasoned entrepreneur in his 30s, PJ plans to launch a new venture.

It seems that he’s only taken his first few steps in his entrepreneurial journey.

This story is part of Life After Service, a week-long campaign where BFBS will be running positive stories about ex-service people across all its media channels.